Speculation about a Romney Senate bid has swirled since Hatch told the National Journal last week that he has "expressed interest" to Romney in having him seek his seat, and could step aside "if I could get a really outstanding person to run for my position".
In this photo taken November 19, 2016, Mitt Romney talks to media after meeting with President-elect Donald Trump at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in Bedminster, N.J. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he has reached out to former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney about possibly running for the Senate, if a vacancy opens in Utah.
Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee for president, lives in Utah.More news: Hyundai announces new small SUV called Kona
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Romney was pretty opposed to then-candidate Donald Trump. Many of the Mormon Romney-backers I spoke to talked about his call to public service in spiritual terms-with some even making half-joking references to "White Horse Prophecy", a bit of apocryphal LDS folk doctrine that predicts the U.S. Constitution will one day "hang by a thread" and Mormons will have to save it.
Hatch reiterated Friday that he still intends to run for re-election in 2018, but said that if he decides not to run, he would want Romney to run for his seat. "If [Hatch] wants to run again, I'm for him", McConnell said.
Currently, though, Romney is on a charity trip in Indonesia.More news: Susan Rice denies all wrongdoing in 'unmasking' of Trump team
In a previous interview, Hatch - who has been in the Senate for almost four decades - seemed OK with the idea of handing things off to Romney.
"I wouldn't want that to happen again", Hatch said.
In reaching out to Romney, Hatch said he is trying to prevent a divisive Utah primary over his successor. "I just think he hasn't, in his mind, gotten to that place yet".More news: Insights of Weight Loss Transformation Result of Mama June